Chicago Spring( 2 reviews )
HeatherChicago, Illinois, United States
This was a fun race in the middle of May. This was my first year racing this one, and mainly registered because it was included in the 39.3 Challenge (complete this race, Michelob 13.1, and Chicago Half Marathon and receive a 39.9 Challenge medal) — I was already registered for the other two, so figured why not add this one as well.
This race had easy packet pickup at Fleet Feet Old Town, as usual. The weather was in the low 50s and cloudy around 7 and then was upper 60s and sunny at the finish (for me, anyway). Parking was available at the Millennium Park Garages, though it would have been nice to get a discount for it ($19, ouch!). People who live in the city could have easily taken Public Transit to get there.
The race set-up and finish line were in the Lakeshore East Park, which I knew to be near Universal Sole, so it wasn't a problem finding it. The start, however, was a couple minutes away near the Lakefront Path. The port-o-let situation was a little strange – some of the placements made it hard to form lines, so there was some issues with people cutting or deciding to form their own lines elsewhere, and the lines that formed were pretty long.
The race started at 7, with the final corral started around 7:35, and the 10K starting closely behind.
Also, towards the finish, the course was a bit odd (kept wondering how you got to the line that we saw in the morning), but I felt there was enough direction via either volunteers, other runners, or cones, so I didn't see that as a problem.
Things I liked about this race:
• Great shirt - liked the material, color (which was unusual and so nice to have something other than the usual!), and fit
• Easy packet pickup
• Plenty of aid stations on course (8 total) with water and Gatorade
• Great medal
• Pace groups
• Lakefront Path course, but started farther north than usual, which was a nice change of pace
• Post-race picnic with Goose Island catered buffet (hash browns, watermelon, sausage, egg whites, and pancakes)
• Plant your own flowers
• Great finish line enthusiasm by volunteers and race announcers (my mom and I were able to get our names called out together when we finished, that was fun)
Things I disliked:
• Long lines for port-o-lets
• Parking cost
Here's my blog recap, if you're interested in more details: http://heatherrunsthirteenpointone.blogspot.com/2014/06/chicago-spring-half-marathon-recap.html